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Refined Hazard: Carcinogenic Air Pollution from America's Oil Refineries is Increasing According to USEPA Data From 2004 to 2006
Oct 1, 2008
Petroleum refineries are a major source of pollution in the United States, releasing a significant amount of carcinogenic pollutants into the air Americans breathe. According to information reported to USEPA's Toxic Release Inventory, emissions of carcinogens from U.S. refineries actually increased between 2004 and 2006. This represents a disturbing shift from an industry-wide decline in carcinogenic emissions from U.S. refineries in previous years. In 2006, a handful of refineries accounted for approximately 36% of total emissions of carcinogens.
EIP's report also documents troubling evidence that refinery emissions may be significantly underreported. For example, only six of the nation's 150 refineries reported releasing a total of 142,995 pounds of formaldehyde in 2005. But according to the methods EPA has developed for measuring formaldehyde released from refining processes, industry-wide emissions could exceed 4 million pounds a year. In addition, new "remote sensing" technologies that directly measure air emissions show that refinery releases of carcinogens can be as much as 100 times higher than industry estimates that are based on outdated EPA emission factors.